Photo: By Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Serial entrepreneur Lars Albright cofounded Quattro Wireless, one of the first mobile ad companies to make mobile advertising technology.The proposition was simple: help developers make more money from their apps by giving them an easy way to sell ads.
In 2010, Apple bought Quattro and took Albright on board to help build its own mobile ad network iAd. The platform hasn’t done so well — Apple recently had to lower prices to get more advertisers in board.
Now, Albright is taking another shot.
Like Quattro, advertising is part of the equation. Session M offers a software development kit that lets developers add a layer on top of iOS, Android, or mobile Web apps. This layer includes a way to place video and interactive ads.
But it’s not just about advertising.
Session M is also meant to let developers “increase engagement” by letting them offer rewards from within apps whenever people do desired tasks.
For instance, an app could offer points whenever users share the app on Facebook, or whenever they sit through a video ad. Later, users could redeem those points for rewards like Facebook Credits (used to buy products on Facebook) or electronic gift cards. Session M manages the point system and rewards program for developers.
Basically, Albright thinks that traditional mobile ads aren’t good enough at capturing attention and keeping users within the app experience.
“The majority of ads in the mobile space take people to a mobile site. When they interact with the ad, it takes them out of the app. We keep people always one click away to go back to the application.”
In addition, the rewards program gives people “a feeling that their time is being recognised.”
The whole thing sounds like a convoluted way to get and retain users — the best way to get and keep users is to build a really great app, as Kevin Systrom from Instagram told us a few months ago.
Still, Session M seems to be filling a need: so far, Viacom, Fox, Sports, Demand Media, Glam Media, and The Weather Channel have all signed up on the developer side, and brands like Honda, Volvo, and Tyson Foods are planning to advertise.
Here are some screenshots of what Session M’s platform will look like. On the left, an app called Livestrong shows some goals that the user is trying to achieve. Next, users win points for accomplishing one of those goals or for sitting through a video ad. On the right is the store where users can redeem their awards.
Photo: Session M
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